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4 Jun, 2009 07:21

“China was not ready for democracy” 20 years ago

It has been 20 years since the Chinese military cracked down on demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Political analyst, Yevgeny Bazhanov, spoke to RT of that day in China’s history and its consequences.

In June1989 more than a million students and workers gathered in the city centre to protest against the communist regime.

Tanks rolled in to the square to quell a two month uprising calling for democratic reforms – the army then opened fire on protestors. Hundreds were killed, thousands more were wounded.

But what were demonstrators demanding?

“Some of them did not like corruption, unemployment. Others, at the same time, wanted the regime to be changed. They wanted a Western-style democracy right away,” Yevgeny Bazhanov, a Vice President of the Russian Diplomatic Academy explains.

“I would agree with Chinese leaders who said after the events that China was not ready for democracy. China had 800 million peasants, China had 200 million illiterate persons, China had 100 million people who lived below the poverty level, and China had 100 million unemployed people,” the expert added.

According to the explanations for their decision to use force that Chinese leadership gave back in 1989, people would destroy the country, should they be given all freedoms right away.

The events on Tiananmen Square followed a few years after the Cultural Revolution, when young people almost destroyed the country, as Yevgeny Bazhanov noted.

“It was not wise that they used force, it was regrettable, but it was understandable that they wanted to keep law and order in the country. And because of this, China is now one of the world’s leading economies,” Bazhanov continued.

But with the country having experienced huge economic growth since that time and with its people enjoying more wealth, is there an increased will for freedom and protests against the communist regime?

As Yevgeny Bazhanov states, “Chinese people have 20 times more freedom now than they used to have.” And Chinese leaders seem to realize that they need more democracy in their country, because for the sake of open economy and if you want to be among the word’s leaders, you have to move in that direction.

“They are trying to do it, but step by step, because they understand that the main thing is to keep law and order. If you destroy them, you destroy everything. You destroy the economy – and if you destroy it, you destroy the social order. The country then gets into trouble. And a trouble for China is trouble for the whole world,” the expert told RT.